No.34584, Private, Verner RADFORD
Aged 29

12th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Friday, 23rd November 1917

Verner RADFORD was born in Haverhill (Risbridge Q4-1887 4A:625), son of John and Jane RADFORD (née BASHAM)

1891 census...Aged 3, he was at 30 Withersfield Road, Haverhill with his father John RADFORD [51] silk weaver; his mother Jane [50]; sisters Keziah [31] sewing machinist, Emily [19] sewing machinist, Alice [12] sewing machinist and Jane [8]; brothers Reginald [15] grocer's assistant and Frederick [10]. All were born in Haverhill.

1901 census...Aged 13, a warehouse errand boy, he was at 40 Withersfield Road, with his parents (father a hair weaver); sisters Emma E (Emily) (trousers machinist), Alice(coat and vest machinist), Annie (trousers machinist) and Jennie (Jane) (vest machinist).

1911 census...Aged 23, a clothing warehouseman, he was at 4 Crowland Road, Haverhill with his parents; sisters Emily, Alice, Annie and Jane. His mother had lost 2 of her 13 children.

He married Violet Rose BASHAM in 1912

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds.

Early in 1917, Verner wrote a letter to the Haverhill Ladies Patriotic Working Party saying: 'Thanks for the parcel received today, the contents are quite correct. I am sure they will be very useful, especially the socks, as the places we have just come from we had a change of socks each night, and I think we require them as we were up to our knees in water and mud.'

The battalion were in front of BOURLON, the war diary has:-
23 - 12 noon - "B" Coy., reinforced 20 MIDDX, "C" Coy., reported to 21st MIDDX, "D" Coy., proceeded to E.23.c. outside the beet factory on the CAMBRAI ROAD. "A" Coy in trenches E.29.a.
.23.4 pm - position of Batt 1 Coy in trenches E.29.a, 1 Coy in shell holes E.23.a front line E.12.c. 2 platoons in front line E.13.c and E.17.d. 2 platoons in road E.23.b.10.8 Battn HQ E.29.a.6.3.
Brigade HQ reported in position for attack behind Battn HQ
In the evening at a conference held at HQ 20 MIDDX arrangements were made for the cavalry to take over the left of line and the Coy in shell holes in E.23.a and b to retire to beet factory and cover it at E.23.b."

As usual no sheet number of map, but it was 57c . Poor report, no action details, only positions (shown below) but they were preparing for a full scale counter attack. CWGC have 10 of the battalion killed on the 23rd, none has a known grave.

Verner Radford is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, panel 4

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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